I had an email from a reader the other day, who had a strange tale to tell.
He has recently moved into a shared house in Manchester. On the day he moved in, his landlord informed him that there were hidden security cameras in the kitchen and in the hallways of the property.
Also the landlord frequently lets himself into the property without notice, and is constantly texting and emailing his tenants. ‘He behaves’ my informant told me “As if he still lives there”.
Is this, he asked, lawful?
Well my view is that no, it certainly is not!
All tenancy agreements contain a clause, called the covenant of quiet enjoyment. It does not mean that the tenants have to be quiet or that they must enjoy themselves. It means that they must be left to live in the property in peace.
In this case my informant has a room in a shared house. Here (unlike the situation where the tenant rents the whole of the property either alone or jointly with other tenants who sign the same tenancy agreement) the landlord is able to come and go to a certain extent in the common parts of the property. For example to carry out repairs, and to show any empty rooms to prospective new tenants.
I am pretty sure however that this does not mean he is entitled to put up security cameras to spy on his tenants! Particularly if they are not told about this until after they have signed the tenancy agreement and moved in.
This sounds to me like harassment, which is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act. It may also entitle the tenant to an injunction from the court ordering the landlord to cease the harassment and pay the tenant compensation.
Has anyone else known any situations like this?
See more help for tenants on Landlord Law.